Nashoba Wrestling Catches Hold

Published in the December 19, 2007 issue of Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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Nashoba Regional wrestling coach Matt Schiller knew that some members of the 2007-08 squad had the skills to succeed as individuals this season. Following a best-ever fourth-place finish at the Marlboro Early Bird Tournament on Saturday, he might be wondering if these Chieftains also have the depth to match the dream season of the 2006-07 team.

Senior captains Frank DeMeo (112 pounds) and DJ Siewerski (171), both of Stow, led the Chieftains' effort at the tournament by winning their respective weight classes, each for the second consecutive year.

“Out of all the kids on the team, Frankie and DJ are probably the ones who could wrestle in college,” Schiller said. “They're both outstanding athletes.”

Seniors Matt Holfinger (119) and Keith Schleyer (160) each finished in second place; sophomore Scott Farrell (125), senior captain Tom Quinn (140), senior Blake MacLeod (189) and junior Dan Trefry (215) of Stow all earned points by placing in the top six of their respective weight classes.

New Bedford dominated the tournament, with three individual champions and 11 Whaler wrestlers finishing fourth or better. Woburn and Hudson were the other two teams to place ahead of the Chieftains.

A year ago, the Marlboro tournament was a coming-out party of sorts for Nashoba, whose fifth place finish at that time was the best showing ever at the event by a Chieftain team. It was a sign of things to come, as the Nashoba grapplers went on to a 21-3-1 record, a second-place finish in the sectional playoffs, and a top-25 ranking in the state—surprising many in the wrestling community.

“When we would go to tournaments, people would think we were from Nashua,” said Schiller, who earned coach of the year honors for his efforts. “But now they know who we are.”

Although two Chieftains lost to graduation had notable individual achievements—Geoff Riccio was a sectional champion in the 140-pound weight class, and Ben Adams a league all-star in the 145-pound class—Schiller maintains that the strength of that team was its depth. With fewer team members this year, and a large contingent of underclassmen, that kind of depth is not necessarily going to be a luxury for the current Chieftain team.

“Last year we had a lot of good individuals. No one was state championship level, but all of them were very solid,” Schiller said. “This year, I think we have better individual wrestlers but the team may not be as strong as last year. In some areas we have very young wrestlers and will be giving up points most of the time.”

Still, the Chieftains return several wrestlers with success at the sectional and state levels. DeMeo is a three-time state qualifier and two-time sectional champion who could be the first three-time champion in school history. Holfinger was a sectional runner up and state qualifier last season, while Siewerski—who is better known for his stalwart efforts in goal for the Chieftain soccer team—placed third in the sectionals.

Younger wrestlers who could make an impact this season include sophomore Bobby Durben (130 pounds) and freshman Jason Zelle of Stow (103) and sophomore Andrew Holfinger (152), Matt's younger but bigger brother, who transferred to Nashoba from Wachusett Regional this year.

And, depth or no depth, the team is off to a good start. Prior to the Marlboro tournament, the Chieftains went 2-1 in a tri-meet on Dec. 7, beating Foxboro (46-20) and Greenfield (54-24) while narrowly losing to Quincy (41-31). Lack of depth came back to haunt Nashoba against Quincy, as the Chieftains forfeited three matches for which they had no eligible competitors—holes that Schiller says have since been filled. Siewerski, Farrell and Quinn each won all three of their matches that day, and Trefry won two of three.

The Chieftains enjoyed a much larger margin of victory last Wednesday in a dual meet with Algonquin, which is fielding a team for only its second year; Nashoba won 48-7.

The next home match will be against Hudson tonight, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239